This oil and gas offshore platform is located in the Umm Al Quwain Gas field, located 20 kilometres off the coast of Umm Al Quwain, UAE.
These mobile platforms are solid steel structures, designed to withstand the harsh sea environment. But the steel structure also completely blocks the mobile signal from entering the cabins and other internal areas. This creates communication dead zones, preventing the exchange of critical information between workers, management, and external stakeholders. Additionally, emergency response efforts are impeded by the lack of reliable communication channels.
Because of the number of different cellular devices and routers on board, along with large numbers of staff using different operators, the management needed a solution that would amplify all of the mobile operators for 5G, 4G, 3G and 2G. They also requested that the chosen system could provide coverage in all areas of the rig, over 5 decks and across 100m, to reach the engine room.
The Oil Rig management contacted Star-link, a certified Stella Doradus Integrator with many years of experience, to solve their communications problems. Star-link decided that the most effective solution was to install a 5 frequency Stella Doradus Repeater System. This system is a modular system which can be expanded to cover areas of any size and distance. It was also chosen because it amplified all operators, and provided the most economical and stable solution.
The 5 frequencies required for UAE and KSA are 700,800,900,1800 and 2100Mhz. 700, 800 and 900Mhz are required to ensure coverage in far away areas of the vessel and 1800 and 2100Mhz are required for fast data speeds. Amplifying these 5 frequencies ensures the most stable signal with the fastest data speeds. It also ensures the system is future proofed for 5G technology.
The following steps were undertaken:
First, the installation plan was designed online using the StellaPlanner Tool outlining the equipment necessary for successful signal amplification. The rig has 3 accommodation levels with approximately 40 cabins per level. Signal was also on the main deck for the offices, the Tank deck for the Mess room and finally an antenna was required in the bridge for critical operating communications.
Second, site surveys were conducted using the Stella Doradus TestTool. This was used to determine:
- The precise direction of the operator’s mast on land.
- The frequency used by the operators for super fast data. It was found that 1800MHz was used for super fast data, so the Parabolic Laser antenna was required to receive this high frequency over the 20km distance to the tower.
- Lastly the TestTool showed how the signal would propagate inside the vessel, which indicated the best position for each of the internal antennas.
1x outdoor Parabolic Laser antenna. Model: LASER
1x 5-band StellaOffice repeater. Model: SD-RP1002-VLGDW-4
4x LineAmps. Model: SD-LA-VLGDW-4
19x indoor omni antennas. Model: CEILING5ANT
1x Line amplifier and 4x antennas were installed on each level. The internal omni antennas were placed every 15m in the corridors, enabling the signal to pass into the adjacent cabins via the open cabin doors.
Management were delighted that even at 20km out to sea, and with such a solid steel internal structure, staff can now use their phones as they would in a good signal area, achieving clear voice calls and accessing data on their own data plans, with speeds of 25Mb.